Saturday, July 18, 2009

Beyond The Medical Reasons For Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance

In the recent years, it seems Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance have become a prevalent health issue. Mainstream media has been covering these two medical mysteries on shows such as The View, as more people are being diagnosed and discovering their sensitivities to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in many grass like grains, such as wheat, barely, spelt, kamut and rye. Celiac Disease is characterized by a severe, sudden, immune reaction to gluten, whereas gluten sensitivity is an autoimmune condition of unknown origin where gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine. With gluten sensitivity, the onset is slower, and symptoms can often occur days after ingesting gluten. If the two were thought of on a spectrum, Cealic Disease would be an extreme on one end, while gluten sensitivity could be at various intervals along the spectrum. In both cases, gluten can inhibit absorption of nutrients resulting in a wide range of possible symptoms. Some common symptoms include:

eczema and other skin problems

irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and other gastro-intenstinal problems


aching joints




nutritional deficiencies, like low B12 or iron

The vast array of symptoms can make these conditions difficult to track and often eliminating gluten from the diet for several weeks is the best option to really know how one does with out gluten. There are some tests one can take, but it has been found there are some who test negative for Celiac Disease, but through eliminating gluten, find their symptoms go away. I myself am gluten intolerant, and after much research, self discovery, and spiritual growth, I would like to share some spiritual and metaphysical reasons for what seems to be a sudden burst of intolerance to this once revered grain.

Historically wheat symbolizes both life and death. Stories of harvesting and cultivating wheat can be traced from Europe to North America. Wheat, being the staple food for many civilizations was nessesary to live, and therefore, symbolized life itself. Ironically, in order to harvest more wheat, it needs first to die and then be buried in the ground. Months later it is reborn anew as a spike emerging from the earth. This resurection of sorts then provides sustanence and has feed humanity throughout the ages.

Wheat, as well as other cereal grains, has a very complex and rich history, from symbolism in the bible, to pagan traditions and cultivation. An abundant wheat harvest meant a rich kingdom or society. Egyptian goddess Isis was known as the goddess of magic, rebirth, motherhood and femininity, and was called the Lady of Bread. Egyptians believed the Nile River flooded every year because of her tears of sorrow over her husband Osiris' death. This was symbolic to a death and rebirth of Osiris, by the power and love of Isis.

The fruitfullness of wheat symbolizes security, dependability, helpfulness, sensuality, north, grounding, goodness, wholesomeness and all the abundance the earth has to offer. So why would food so trusted, dependable, and symbolic create such havoc on a new generation? What has changed? Although there are some factors that lie in the physical realm, such as the changes in agriculture and how we cultivate and grow our food, there are also metaphysical reasons for these symptoms that correspond to a greater planetary shift and the speeding up of conscious expansion.

When I first discovered I was gluten intolerant I went through an intense morning period. Wheat, being a staple food even today, is the essence of every meal celebration and is hidden in nearly every commercial food. Family and friends often show their love through pastries, cake and pasta. I was high raw, vegan, but now I could not make exceptions at family affairs unless I knew specifically what was in the food. I mourned aspects of my social life, the traditions I had grown up with centerd around food and said goodbye to traditional holiday feasts. I felt such a deep deprivation for what I felt was my identity.

Surprisingly to me, as time when on, my new found intolerance forced me to become even more educated about what I put into my body. It also lead to me making new connections with like minded people. I finally started going to raw pot lucks and met inspiring individuals who were on similar paths to myself. I found that I no longer participated in social interaction that, deep down, had not been in alignment with my values or interests. Without being able to make "exceptions", my body took on a new vibration, as everything I put into my body was organic and unprocessed. I also found myself not craving cooked food as often. I had unknowingly eliminated a major source of my food cravings. When we are sensitive to a food, or a food is toxic to our system, our body begins to build a tolerance to that substance. When the food (or substance) is removed, all of a sudden the tolerance is felt as a sharp demanding for that very food that was harming us. These cravings are potent and can often be mistaken as a "need" by the body.

In time, due to my gluten sensitivity, I was creating amazing new connections, eating a diet that was very high vibration and was not struggling to maintain an amazing level of health. I also felt happier and at peace. I felt, well, reborn :). Parts of myself that were no longer serving me had fallen away. New traditions and connections were created, but these changes in my life have been in complete service to my souls evolution. They feel good on every level of my being and have created a happiness in my life I never knew was possible.

In these rapidly changing times, gluten intolerance asks us to disconnect from that which no longer serves our highest good and that of the planet. By having these old traditions, patterns, and possibly even connections fall away, often we can open up to our true selves, without societal expectation or programming. We have a rebirth of self, but often in ways we never dreamed were possible. Gluten, being a particularly gluey substance which can stick to the colon and clog up our waste system, can in turn lower the amount of life force energy flowing throughout our bodies. It is heavy and dense. Removing it allows for life force to flow more freely, allowing us to feel happier and more connected to ourselves, others and the planet.

Wheat needs to be cultivated and symbolizes wealth. Enlightenment, growth and abundance (wealth) in all aspects our lives (not just monetary) also must be cultivated. It is a process of growth, death and rebirth. A constant process that yields fruitful rewards to those who dare to do the labor and look within. The sensuality embodied by wheat and many cereal grains represents an unfolding of our true nature and our deepest desires. When we are surrounded by comfort and are comfortable with ourselves we take on a sensuality that is magnetic. This richness is so vast that is extends to the material and spiritual planes.

When we are struggling to find our way, often our body steps in on behalf of our soul to nudge us in the right direction. As my friend Laura always says, the body always works with the soul, for the soul's highest good. The body and soul are like lovers. What one can not, or won't do, the other will step in and provide. This often creates a place or situation where the soul's true desires and needs become apparent. I now look at my gluten intolerance as a beautiful gift. There is no loss. It feels good. Where I am now and the changes that have occurred in my life are what I would have wanted for myself if I had been aware enough to make the changes on my own.

It is said that delaying gratification is a mark of wisdom. I have to agree. Some times we think we know what is best for us, but our body knows better. It is connected to our true self. This process is often needed for stabiltity and comfort. Just as one must save grain, not eating it all, to plant for the next harvest, which brings abundance to those who save the crop.


Tammy said...

I've been getting a lot of inner nudges lately that I may have Crohn's Disease and it may be related to an allergy of some sort. As I pay attention and look for guidance, I have been led to your article here. This, to me, is one more clue on my current journey so I just wanted to say thank you for posting. It matters...

Cassie said...

I'm so glad it helped you Tammy :). I wish you all the best on your healing journey.


Jane Taylor Hardy said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful article. I have Celiac Dis-ease and am feeling very ill with it at the moment. The article is beautifully written and your insights are invaluable.

Cassie said...

I'm so happy you liked this article Jane :). Many blessings on your journey.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your insight and experience. I have newly diagnosed Celiac and at moments can see that it's purpose is to shift me to a higher and more whole way of being. The symptoms are overwhelming though - I appreciate to see you on the other side and through all the symptoms that made you suffer. Gives me hope for my rebirth!